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Herald Sun: Kin Collective present Martin McDonagh's The Leenane Trilogy

See article in its original context here by Michelle Pountney for the Herald Sun.

Kin Collective tackles theatre marathon with Leenane Triology

THREE plays, back to back, will test the skills of independent theatre group the Kin Collective.

The 10-member group will tackle Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy over little more than two weeks, including three marathon Sundays when all the plays will all be performed on the same day.

The three plays, set in rural Ireland, are described as being “flamboyantly gruesome dark comedies” with murders, spite, and complicated relationships aplenty.

Each play — The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull In Connemara, and The Lonesome West — will have its own short season as well as the triple-header Sunday performances.

Three directors lead three separate casts, including some big stage and television names who formed the Kin Collective after meeting at an acting masterclass with US acting coach Larry Moss.

Noni Hazlehurst, Michala Banas, Tom Barton, Keith Brockett, Jason Chatfield, Mark Diaco, Marg Downey, Dan Hamil, Linc Hasler and Laura Maitland form the group and just coordinating rehearsals for the busy players has been a challenge in itself.

Dylan Watson, Marg Downey and Laura Maitland will perform in the Leenane Trilogy. Source: News Corp Australia

“We’ve certainly taken on something bigger than we thought,” says Downey, who will appear in A Skull In Connemara .

“You read a trilogy and think it’s wonderful writing, yes we love it and yes we can do it, but the logistics are far more than we thought … with each play somehow having to be quickly disassembled to move on to the next one.”

The Kin Collective settled on the dark comedy of McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy after rehearsing a scene from one of his plays during the acting workshop where they met.

Soon after that workshop, Dylan Watson, who performs in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, then read many of McDonagh’s plays.

“I love how he doesn’t let the fact that it’s theatre stop him from where he wants to go — then going further than that,’’ Watson says.

The three stories stand alone, but tie into each other, which has allowed the cast to learn more about their characters.

Laura Maitland, who plays Girleen in The Lonesome West, said McDonagh’s characters were an extraordinary opportunity for an actor.

“It’s not often these kind of scripts come across your desk. You don’t get to see much of this type of play and writing — a balance between comedy and drama — in this country.”

The Beauty Queen Of Leenane sees manipulative mother Mag (Noni Hazlehurst) and her virginal daughter Maureen (Michala Banas) who loathe rather than love.

In A Skull In Connemara, Mick Dowd (Chris Bunworth) is hired by a parish priest to dig up the bones of his late wife in the church graveyard, and The Lonesome West sees brothers (Mark Diaco and James O’Connell) resume a vicious and trivial quarrel soon after they bury their father.


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